2020 was the year of disruption, and 2021 was the year of re-evaluation and stability. What does 2022 have in store for us? L&D experts predict that the theme for 2022 will be onwards and upwards. The word “new normal” can well be laid to rest. The brand-new year of 2022 will be symbolic of substantial growth, expansion, innovation, coupled with an ambitious vision. Organizations will be eager to build on the many opportunities from 2021. The eLearning trends for 2022 are exciting and capture the pulse of the industry.
While eLearning has been on an upward trajectory in the last decade, the global pandemic only accelerated growth, along with greater interest and innovation to L&D. There has been a palpable curiosity about the many possibilities, with an intent to deliver meaningful learning experiences at the workplace. The future of L&D is compelling and is precisely what this blog will address. What are the key eLearning trends to watch out for in 2022 and how will this contribute to the overall L&D experience at organizations? Let us explore this topic that has been compiled with the help of leading research papers, publications, and expert opinions from L&D gurus.
One of the biggest learnings for organizations over the last two pandemic years is that training and skilling need to keep progressing. It is the only way to keep up with the changing times and brace yourself for evolving business needs. There is a reason that L&D has its place firmly in the C-Suite, as per the LinkedIn 2021 Workplace Learning Report.
Offering employees new opportunities to develop their knowledge and skill is crucial. Achieving this goal through heightened learning experiences is the ultimate partnership. This seems to be one of the most sought-after aspects, especially for Millennials.
Did you know that millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) make up the largest segment of the workplace? By 2030, millennials are expected to cover around 75% of the entire workforce in the US, with newer cohorts like Generation Z following closely behind. Does this mean the eLearning trends for 2022 will be singularly focused to give the millennial generation the edge? Or will the watchlist include L&D practices that are sustainable, dependable, and are akin to growth in the new age? Let us find out.
Here are the top eLearning trends that will be the toast of 2022, in no particular order.
Table of Contents
eLearning Trend # 1: Building Learning Ecosystems
The two main components that make up a learning ecosystem are who and how. Who are the stakeholders or learners for an organization? And how is training made available to these learners? Over the years it has become evident that to achieve overall organizational growth, enterprises must bring their employees and the extended enterprises (of vendors, customers, and partners) together. But the pandemic has shed light on the fact that their L&D needs also need to be unified. From creating a thriving community of learners to lean on, learn, offer support, and brainstorm, organizations were immediately drawn to the many merits and opportunities that can be uncovered. Learning ecosystems offer a safe and fertile space for like-minded people and creates virtual unification in an otherwise isolated environment. Organizations are also able to deliver effective training for the diverse needs – from compliance to sales and product adoption. The power of unity is a force to reckon with.
How training is delivered in this ecosystem is also equally vital. Bringing content together through integrational support will elevate the learner ecosystem. Organizations will look for seamless delivery to feed this ecosystem with relevant information that will add value to the whole learning journey. The learning ecosystem facilitates choice. The choice for a learner to go beyond the conventional to feed his/her intellect. Training and learning that extends beyond the mandated is a win-win for the learner and the organization.
eLearning Trend # 2: Adaptive Learning or Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
If generalized and common training was yester-year, personalized learning of yesterday gets another moment in the sun in 2022, albeit turbocharged for better implementation. The way forward for L&D is data and matrix. Skill analysis, and a data-driven approach to assess, plan, instruct, and for remediation. What training needs to be imparted, at what level, to what strengths of the employee, etc. will be the guiding force for every L&D session curated by the organization.
Adaptive learning will rely on analytics or statistical modeling to not only chart a curriculum for the employee but can also predict success ratio, strategies that can work to favor enhanced performances and better learning outcomes. Lest we forget superior learning experiences, better engagement, and retention for the learner.
According to eLearning Industry, AI technology is one of the most popular in the US, where experts had predicted a growth of up to 45% in 2021. AI in L&D has the potential to work much like Big Data but in a more nuanced way. It is promising because the opportunities and possibilities are endless; from algorithm-enabled recommendations and interactive, immersive simulations to virtual mentorship, voice-enabled bots, and customized learning encounters. Speed and precision in training will be the buzzwords. AI already plays a pivotal role in data collection and analysis, however, in L&D it will play to the strengths, advantages, and preferences of learners.
eLearning Trend # 3: Increased Focus on DEI, and Wellness
We are already reading reports on how organizations in the UK, US, Australia, and more are investing more in diversity training, and this trend will only grow in 2022 across the globe. A McKinsey study reveals how organizations can foster improved performances and profitability when they are focused on diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace. You can read the full report here. Generations are now more attuned than ever, demanding more inclusiveness and sensitivity. With L&D, organizations will look to deliver training that carries greater responsibility and relevance at the workplace.
Recently, the United Arab Emirates announced to change their existing 5-day workweek to a four-and-a-half-day week to offer employees greater flexibility, productivity, and improved work-life balance, with a focus on their wellbeing. Five more countries are looking to follow suit. Organizations around the world are rethinking employee wellness and finding innovative ways to put employee needs front and center. Improved communication, holistic wellbeing, workplace safety, and fitness challenges to bring employees together are some popular examples. eLearning will also need to adapt to this evolving trend (of wellbeing in mind) and offer training that is employee friendly. More knowledge and skill-based learning, learner-centric experiences, training in the flow of work, informal learning, and more such will find increased takers. More efficient learning, and a natural growth pattern for businesses is the prediction.
eLearning Trend # 4: Microlearning and Gamification
An article published by the Association of Talent Development (ATD) states that microlearning plays a huge part in motivation. This is critical as motivation is the driving force to pursue training, to learn better, and retain better. Microlearning is the training trump card for today’s generation of learners – quick, bite-sized information in media-rich formats that can be accessed anytime and anywhere. The benefits are abundant, and L&D will look to further capitalize across training modules, genres, areas, and departments.
Big businesses have already shared their success stories with gamification in the public domain. It is certainly becoming a frontrunner for training strategies, with 83% of employees revealing to be more motivated with their tasks after gamified training. In 2022, expect more teams and more leaders to embrace gamification and give a fair shot with gamified learning experiences. Skill-based learning and review/assessment training modules are just some of the numerous opportunities that have been explored thus far with gamification. It also helps in the cause of social learning through collaboration and group participation.
eLearning Trend # 5: Immersive Technologies
Immersive Technologies have shown immense potential in the way they can ensure greater learning outcomes. The use of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) in corporate training has been promising because of its innate nature of reducing the gap between theory and application for learners. More industries will embrace immersive technology to impart quality learning. Do take time to read this uber-interesting article about the deployment of VR and AR tools at The Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine to teach its students about dissection, ultrasound imaging, and more using 3D cadavers; an idea that took shape due to the pandemic.
Organizations will look to capitalize on the many benefits that immersive technologies offer to create high-impact corporate training programs. And with progressively easy access to equipment, training content created with the help of immersive technologies will find more takers.
eLearning Trend # 6: Upskilling, Reskilling, Cross-skilling, and Talent Management
Talent Management will be a key focus area for organizations as we step foot into 2022. The Great Resignation is upon us, and so is the Fourth industrial revolution. While upskilling and reskilling have pretty much taken over L&D meetings and conversations, organizations are looking to plug skill gaps additionally through effective cross-skilling.
Cross-skilling is the process of learning new skills in related areas to meet needs, and for improved collaboration and support. It also acts as Plan B for cross-skilled employees to step up during unforeseen circumstances. For the employee, it is an additional skill set and something that is of immense value and could potentially set him/her up for greater success and milestones. Employees and organizations will look to cover further ground as the world moves on whilst keeping pace with new business needs and challenges.
The eLearning trends forecasted for 2022 are decisive, and inclusive of learner needs and preferences. Organizations will look to implement training strategies that are dynamic and progressive to their ethos. Would it vary depending on each department’s goals, or would it be implemented across the board? How quickly will businesses embrace change as the only constant and continue with their quest in providing breakthrough employee learning and development? The first quarter of the new calendar year will set the tone to follow, and the spotlight is promising and bright. It is time to wait, watch, and we will report back with our findings.
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